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Can Apple mobile devices successfully integrate into the various corporate cultures of your customers' businesses? Solution providers need to ensure user satisfaction as well productivity in order to make the deployment of Apple devices into the enterprise a success. Here, Hart, CEO of Tekserve, offers seven tips for a successful implementation.— Jennifer D. Bosavage
The concept of iOS in the enterprise is fairly new, so much so that little exists in the way of a roadmap or case study on how to perform a successful implementation. The work that some forward-thinking organizations have already done shows that the goal of integrating and managing Apple devices can be achieved. Those thriving projects follow best practices that can help IT admins manage and secure their iOS deployments.
1. Develop a mobile management strategy as early as possible
The importance of mobile management can’t be overstated, especially for an IT department concerned about data security. It requires careful thinking about the specific goals you want the devices to serve, including asking questions about the tools and policies that will be implemented. Will IT push out Exchange profiles? What apps does the organization want on each device? What will the model within the MDM environment look like? Those answers should be balanced with the need to ensure user satisfaction and productivity – which is one of the primary reasons to bring Apple devices into the enterprise.
The key here is control – IT departments want it, but mobile users aren't going to put up with too many restrictions. That’s where mobile management comes in. Using it, managers can exert greater control over the security and use of the devices on their networks, while still providing employees with the tools they want to increase productivity and satisfaction.
2. Re-think the approach to security
CIOs, justifiably concerned that an unauthorized party will get a hold of crucial corporate data, will take every necessary step to lock iOS devices down and ensure that no copies of documents, spreadsheets or other data leave the corporate network. Often they’ll use tools, such as sandbox environments, to complement their MDM tools and add an extra layer of protection.
That is a very traditional IT way of thinking, and if there’s anything Apple has made clear, it’s that these are not traditional IT tools.
So while the desire to lock down devices to the point of limiting user access to the full functionality is understandable, it’s also not the best way to ensure worker productivity and satisfaction. A more constructive route is to consider why the organization (or its employees) invested in iOS in the first place, and think about how the approach to security can support these goals.
When setting security policies around these devices, think about the value of data, what types of information need to be secured, and whether sacrificing certain protocols in the interest of user access to device functionality might be desirable.
3. Don’t go it alone
Though the concept of Apple in the enterprise may strike some as fairly new, it has been successfully done before. Knowing this, it’s important to seek outside help when looking to do a first, big implementation or even a pilot project.
The common belief is that, especially when it comes to pilots, an organization does not need outside help because it is just dipping a toe in the water with a few devices. But the truth is just the opposite. Since the pilot will likely be used to determine the feasibility of a widespread rollout, it’s critical that all potential scenarios are accounted for to ensure success.
Next: Four More Tips for Deploying iOS Devices